Author: Jagdish Kumar, India
With growing cryptocurrency fraud reported, Maharashtra government has set up a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to investigate all matters pertaining to cryptocurrency fraud.
The special team will be headed by additional director general of Economic Offence (EO) Prabhat Kumar, who will lead the team.
Announcing this, state home minister Deepak Kesarkar said that many cases are being reported in the state from Thane, Pune, Nanded and Kolhapur.
Commenting on the deadline of the cases, the minister said, no time frame has been given to the SIT to complete the probe. Each case is at a different stage of investigation and will take its own time.
This comes after, cases of Bitcoin fraud unearthed in Kolhapur, Yavatmal, Pune, and Thane, involving three companies. These companies have promised 15% returns on investment in the form of Bitcoins and raised deposits from people in and around Kolhapur.
Speaking to BlockAsia.io, an investigating officer in purview of the SIT team on the condition of anonymity said that these case will be dealt under the Maharashtra Protection of Interests of Depositors Act, Prize Chits and Money Circulation (Banning) Act, and Information Technology Act also as the fraud was committed through online transactions.
From now onwards, whatever case registered by the local police will now be transferred to the SIT for investigation.
The decision of the state government comes after four days of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ban on crypto trading in the country comes into force from 6 July 2018.
Recently, a London based businessman was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai, which is investigating $295 million Bitcoin scam.
Apart from this, an $80 million scam was also unearthed in Mumbai neighboring Thane district, where a company named Money Trade Coin (MTC) has raised money and promised 20-times return on investment in a mere six months, which was reported by BlockAsia.io
The new SIT panel will be entitled to coordinate with central agencies including Enforcement Directorate (ED) for probe in such scams.
However, it is still unclear on how the state SIT team will investigate the cases subject to state jurisdiction, but are now investigated by the central agencies.